Tuukka Rask, Milan Lucic in Favor of Changing NHL’s Overtime Format, ‘Wouldn’t Mind’ Getting Rid of Shootouts

Tukka Rask, Scottie UpshallBig changes may be coming to the NHL’s overtime format, which will be reevaluated at this week’s general manager meetings in Toronto. And for several Bruins players, a few adjustments would be welcome.

The league’s current system of one five-minute overtime period followed by a shootout has been debated at great length since its adoption in 2005, with some likening deciding a game by shootout to determining the outcome of an NBA game with a 3-point contest.

Several options are reportedly on the table for discussion at the meetings, including extending the extra session to 10 minutes or even adding an additional five-minute period of 3-on-3 hockey after the currently used 4-on-4 session.

Bruins winger Milan Lucic played under a similar format during his time in the British Columbia Hockey League — which used the added wrinkle of adding a skater for penalties during the 3-on-3 period rather than removing one — and he said Wednesday that it would be a great fit for the NHL, as well.

“You feel like it’s almost fitting that it ends that way, rather in the shootout. It’s definitely something I would be in favor of,” Lucic said, according to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com. “A five minute 4-on-4 and then a five minute 3-on-3 would be really exciting, and cool to watch. Hopefully they do something where we can get it done in overtime rather than a shootout.

“I remember that nobody ever came off the ice and was like ‘that’s so stupid that we lost it 3-on-3’ [when they got back to the dressing room]. Your chances were always pretty good to score. It was just a matter of who was going to score first.”

Playing hockey with only six total skaters on the ice has a tendency to yield wide-open scoring chances, making the 3-on-3 system something goalies, including B’s netminder Tuukka Rask, aren’t incredibly keen on. But as he has mentioned many times before, Rask is no fan of deciding a game on penalty shots.

“I wouldn’t mind [getting rid of the shootout,]” he said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the game you just played. It’s just so dramatic when you lose. As a goalie it’s tough to accept that it’s not all your fault if you lose. I don’t know. As a viewer I’m a fan of the shootout, but when you’re in it, it’s not that cool, especially when you’re on the losing end. A five- or 10-minute overtime? I’d be OK with that. But going to 3-on-3 [in overtime] … that sounds a little crazy to me.

“They’re trying to make these new rules every year, it seems like. Whether it’s goalie pads or [smaller] nets, or whatever. I wouldn’t be surprised if we play 2-on-2. It’s not good for the fans if teams are playing it safe at the end of the game just to get to the shootout, so I’m all for overtime and going 4-on-4 to try and go for it.”

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